27 Feb 2013 Whew. What a beer festival. What a hangover. Well, actually, about three and half-thousand of them to be precise. And a budget speech to follow; what rotten luck. By the way, there are only 184 shopping days to Christmas, but of more immediate import to the little village of Clarens, is Easter. That particular weekend is, as of today, only 29 days away. So the big question is, what does Clarens plan to do about it, apart from emptying the pockets of countless visitors – or FTs, as they are fondly known elsewhere in this shrinking world of ours. For those readers with enquiring minds (yes, both of you!) Easter was known in ‘Old English’ as Eostre, or amongst the Eastern Orthodox as Pasch… Odd names but they all mean that Easter is a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvery. By a process of shrewd deduction, you will by now have realised that Easter – apart from being the busiest Sunday in church’s calendar – is also the end of something called Lent, an oddly-named forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. Which suggests that the Clarens beer festival was more or less the start of Lent, which makes you think, does it not? So, assuming that the village’s churches will be doing bumper business on Easter Sunday, what will be happening on the other days of this bumper weekend?? It goes without saying that a great deal of alcohol and food will be channelled down visiting gullets, and that countless daredevils will be consigned down the Ash River on large bits of inflated rubber. Some will listen rapturously to local music while others will join the growing throng beating the bushes with pitchforks in search of our ownKaalvoet. A number will buy art works, great and small, or books, while others less well-endowed with the capacity to make unaided decisions may go quad-bike riding. They will certainly screw up our prospects for parking in this fair community, and may even drink the village dry. Many, at least of those of heterosexual persuasion, may be making fumbling attempts at reproduction, depending on their consumption of Tequila shots and beer snorters. All in all, it will be much like other weekends but much more so. Much more so. Which brings me neatly to the subject of our feathered friends and their role in this weekend celebration. First, the duck community have organised a fly-over: While it has to be admitted that this is less about precision formation flying than dumping on the heads of our visitors, this should make Saturday a highlight to be remembered. Come Easter Sunday, the combined flocks of Guinea Fowl have agreed to do a synchronised march-past at the DRC, depending on whether or not they can all find the place, or, for that matter, find one-another. Three Bostrychia hagedash (hadidas, you ignoramuses!) have volunteered to do some cricket catching on the Square, while a lone Grey Heron will sit atop the monument for the entire weekend and attempt to turn it white. The Mynas, naturally, wanted to do everything, at once, but have been barred on account of their illegal immigration status and lack of work permits. For my part, I shall be driving round and round the Square looking for parking until, at last, I find one. At about four-fifteen in the morning. On Tuesday; after Easter.
The Twitcher 21 Feb 2013
Christmas is just 191 shopping days away, so this is a good week to lay something bye. Or someone, depending on your inclination. Or luck. More importantly, the Clarens Craft Beer Festival starts tomorrow with no end in sight for the plethora of hangovers expected on the Square. As the good and the great (and the thirsty) flock into town, our thoughts turn to Cynthia, the white swan reported missing from the zoo at Bruce Weyer’s little weekend hideaway on the lake, just last week. Cynth was thought to be nesting and so concerns were muted. But the discovery, by your earnest scribe, of some VERY LARGE white feathers on the trail above the village and a set of what might be liberally described as VERY BIG footprints disappearing into the undergrowth, paint a very different picture. …..(continued from main page)…… On the face of it, the evidence suggests that our very own Kaalvoet seems to have developed an appetite for game birds, starting with Bruce’s cuddly little long-necked swan. If this theory is correct, the duck and swan population at Lake Clarens may be under threat. Alternatively, someone VERY BIG may have snuck into town, bent on a mouthful of feathery fun. Whichever the case, it is no longer safe for birds of a gamey nature to meet together for a chat and a snooze on the waters of our founding fathers’ lake. So, what is to be done, one innocently asks? First, we should summon the cavalry: The SAPS have their very own mounted unit, under the command of a Veldkornet, which lives across the way in Qwa Qwa. Surely they should ride to the rescue and pick up the tracks of the phantom Swan Canoodler sooner rather than later. After all, the thought of Bruce lying awake at night is too much to bear! Second, we should offer a reward for the (mis?)apprehension of Kaalvoet. If anyone has any money left after a weekend of carousing on the square, this should be sent to The Twitcher without delay. I can’t guarantee that it will be used for the purpose intended and don’t have a registration number for the receipt of public monies, but I can promise that I will think hard about the problem while drinking it away. Third, we could simply pretend this never happened and that there is not a 2.3 metre tall monster lurking in the Holkrantz. It’s a bit of a stretch, I grant you, but so much less demanding. So, that’s settled then. Send some money and we’ll buy another swan. I have been inundated by readers concerned about the fate of our cute Common Myna bird population, by the bye. I can report that they are lousy eating so the plan to stem their assault on the Clarens valley and in fact, the entire Eastern Free State, is now under review. One option is to export them (ideally in tins) back to Bangladesh, but catching the little buggers turns out to be a problem. We have experimented with cardboard cut-outs of particularly good-looking females, but these have simply been pinched by a broody dove, for purposes unknown. We have tried a long line of broken maize into a large pen, but gave up after 109 Guinea Fowls turned up (anyone wanting a pot of Guinea Fowl Swazi-Spa should drop us a line and fifty guineas). So, we are officially back at the drawing board, scratching our collective heads. Any suggestions would be welcomed and the authors thereof will receive a standing ovation at the next Dhilabeng Council Meeting. Now, as the actress said to the Bishop, for something entirely less demanding and quite coincidental: A recipe for Swan Soup! Take a swan. Any swan, actually. And peel it, or more correctly, denude it of its feathers. Assuming you are still alive after this taxing exercise, kill the sodding thing the kindest way you know how, but just do it. You will now have a very large pink thing with an over-extended neck and no pulse. Optimally, you should undo its tummy (Ed: that’s the part between its legs and below its rib cage) and empty out all the frogs and other low-life creatures it has ingested. As you will know, trying to roast a swan is delicate work; the inside bits are always raw and you can’t close the oven door on its neck. So, a tip: Firmly grasp the butt-end of the swan, insert a well-greased hand until you reach its beak, and turn it inside-out. The swan may have lost some of its visual charm by this point, but will be a lot easier to cook. Simply souse it with some sherry, a lot of pepper and grill it on High for 3 days. You will find, I am reasonably sure, that there is very little left of the beast and that your Eskom bill is into five-figures. At this juncture, give up the whole thing and go out for a pizza. The Twitcher 7 Feb 2013 205 shopping days to Christmas and a Craft Beer Festival to get through. God, the pressure!
Not much happening, I’m afraid to report (or not, as the case may be), but I can say that our very own Kaalvoet has gone to ground and disappeared. Seems s/he has gone walkabout and has not been seen for some days. Pity, since we need all the waiters we can get for the Beer business and there is a spare waiter’s uniform, apparently, in size XXXXXXXXX. This may explain my absence from these hallowed pages this last week, as if you noticed! Or cared. Weighing my options, I finally borrowed an air rifle with telescopic sight and took up position overlooking my rooftops, now liberally spattered with the effusion of these pesky little intruders. I waited until a line of the little birds (they do look bigger through the scope) was in place and took aim in the hope of the pellet passing through three or even four skulls. I had the telescopic sight focused and prepared to squeeze the trigger in the approved manner. What I did not consider, however, was that while the scope was lined up and clear, the barrel of the rifle was several centimetres lower and directed straight into a drain pipe. I squeezed the trigger, per the instructions, and promptly had a bowel collapse. The pellet, travelling at several thousand metres per second apparently, set off on a journey of many parts, not least a final ricochet straight back at my head. So it was that I reported for attention at the local hospital with a pellet lodged in my forehead and the scope lodged in my mouth, as a result of the fall from the ladder and an ensuing tumble into some rose bushes. You will be pleased (?) to know that I am quite recovered and should soon be able to take solid food again. As for the Mynas, they continue to spatter my rooftops with what amounts to glee and I would swear that they are multiplying at a prodigious rate. Just you wait, you little buggers, vengeance will be mine. Otherwise, at my humble abode on the Golf Estate, we have lost sight of the Guinea Fowls that sack our broken Mealie stock every evening. Indeed, we have lost sight of the houses and trees, even the mountains, as the grass around us grows ever higher. It would seem that there is an unspoken agreement amongst the staff to tempt fire into the valley by growing an inordinately tall crop of grass around the Estate, so shielding us from the nightly pounding of what passes as music, which rolls up the valley from ‘Lower Clarens’. We know not and are currently seeking the whereabouts of the main gate, to fetch in supplies for the winter. Should readers see a flock of confused Guinea Fowls, please feed them at once – or eat them, if they are a bit on the slow side. I’m not a bit surprised that Kaalvoet has vanished and can only hope that s/he is suitably accommodated for the duration.
Notes from the Editor
After a stormy start to the week Clarens has been intermittent weather wise, and constant good time wise. Street Cafe’s grand opening party saw Slipstream unplugged, Denzl on Banjolin, being upstaged by thunder so loud we thought the roof was going to cave in. Near heart-attacks were kept at bay by exotic cocktails in innovative Consol Glass jars, and the thunder seemed to continue all the way into the next day for many of us… (click HERE to see some of their cocktails). Later they were joined by visiting blues legend Brian Finch, and we were very lucky to see and hear such a group of virtuosos and Rick on the drums (turns out he’s good at everything…) Wednesday night at Friends was Ben Dover in their basic 3 piece format, and wow, it was great. The crowd got up and boogied to an amazingly spirited and fairly wild sound, at times almost punk folk jazz rock reggae blues. Thanks guys. In less cheerful news, this Newsletter is only out on Friday (that’s today for those still recovering from the Street Cafe party), because your editor (I checked by the way, and no, Anon, it’s not spelt Idiotor…) has been busily dismantling his dreams. Specifically the Henn’s Tooth Toyshop. If you would like to book a clown or entertainer for you kid’s party, wedding or maybe just to dance on the grave of a nemesis, you can now email me on email@example.com. Remember, in some parts of the world a marriage is not legally binding unless you have a juggler present at the ceremony. Jumping castle available at your home or place of your choice (within reason – I’m not carrying it up Horeb). If you are coming to Clarens and having a birthday celebration, call, call now. SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=42E2fAWM6rA
Veggies are a big part of this issue, you will find pics of the gardens at Bruce’s place, the Artichoke, of the veg gardens at Tshepong orphanage, and some of Toni Walters’s (author of the book Cultivating Flavor) raised beds. If you would love to have your own organic vegetables, but don’t have growing space or energy to put into the ground, you can call Annalie Bossert from the Gourmet Shed and have her deliver mixed organic veggies from her gardens directly to your door. Says Annalie: ”We have huge vegetable gardens (all Organic). We sell crates of mixed veg (what ever is available for that week), and deliver is to your house.R70/R100 crates are available.”
Organic Veggies from Gourmet Shed Gardens Vegetable Garden at Tshepong Orphanage Artichoke Restaurant Garden Toni Walters’ Raised Bed Garden
Reel Gardening at Clarens Go Green Reel Gardening is a biodegradable colour coded paper strip that encases organic fertilizer and seeds at the correct depth and distance apart. The paper strip prevents birds from eating the seeds, water cannot push the shallow seeds to the surface and it can save up to 80% water. The paper decomposes to create mulch and a nurturing environment for the seeds. About Reel Gardening Reel Gardening was developed in 2002 by Claire Catherine Reid at the age of 16 to solve the problems she encountered when starting her own vegetable garden. Claire was encouraged by her teachers to enter her then newspaper and flour invention into the Eskom expo for young scientists. Claire won a gold medal at the national finals in Pretoria. She was asked how much water the product saved so she conducted a series of tests which concluded that Reel Gardening saves 80% water in the germination phase. The department of Water Affairs selected Claire as the South African Youth Water Prize winner and she was sent to Stockholm in 2003 to represent South Africa and The Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Claire was the first South African to win the international award, beating 28 other countries and receiving the award from HRH princess Victoria of Sweden. Claire then went onto win the Women in water award for scientific research below the age of 35. Claire was also a finalist in the Shoprite Checkers woman of the year award in the science and technology category. Claire secured a start up loan through Anglo Zimile and Reel Gardening began research and development in 2008. you can find out more from Jack and Karlien at Clarens Go Green at Shop2, The Rosemary Centre, behind Clarens Brewery, or phone them on 0582561921
News that the world’s number one golfer Rory McIlroy has just signed a ten year sponsorship deal worth £155 million raised the eyebrows of golfers all over the world. £155 million! That’s R2,170,000,000! And he’s already a multi-millionaire! Clarens golfer David Mofokeng would be eternally grateful for even one tiny crumb from that particular table. The 32 year old turned professional a few months ago and is desperate to try his hand on the ‘Sunshine Tour’, this continent’s pro golf circuit. Most of its 25 events per calendar year are staged in South Africa and several are co-sanctioned by the European PGA Tour giving TV exposure throughout Europe and the UK. (click HERE to read the full story) David can be contacted at 073 338 5430 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
LATEST Update from the Sector Police Forum has just landed in my inbox, and thanks to the lateness of me sending out the Newsletter, it can be read by clicking HERE CLARENS FISHING As mentioned earlier, my scheduling has resulted in me not being able to go fishing this week with Greg, so my review will only be coming out next week. As experienced anglers know, patience is everything, so bait your breath my lovelies, something will sure to be on the end of the line eventually.
The next printed version of the News will be out in time for Valentines day. Please send your Valentines specials and info to EDITOR@CLARENSNEWS.COM As for the surprise part, well, look forward to sports, news, poems and art from the greater community around Clarens. That’s all I’m saying for now… For day to day events, updates, info and snippets, please visit the News on Facebook and like it. (click HERE)
Craft Beer Festival News
As a precursor to the main event a number of Clarens restaurants are having food and beer pairings on the Thursday night before it opens officially.
The Clarens Craft Beer Festival caters for those who would like something else than beer and cider to quaff…. There are such good folk! Drayman’s Craft Distillery: A festival first is the introduction of SA’s most exciting commercial craft distillery – Drayman’s. Situation in Pretoria, Drayman’s happens to be the second oldest craft brewery in the country and a progression to distilling was a natural step for the owner-brewer-husband-and-wife team, Hester and Moritz Kallmeyer. The fabulous wares they are bringing are: Highveld Single Malt Whiskey, Solera Whiskey, Honig Jäger Honey Whisky Liqueur, Obstler Schnapps, Cherry Liqueur, Masinko T’ej. Make sure to stop off at Drayman’s for a taste sensation and a chat with the ever-knowledgeable Moritz and find out what T’ej is! Boutique Wines: In another beer-fest first Anton Grobler from the Art and Wine Gallery is bringing three boutique wineries, namely Cederberg from the Cederberg, De Grendell from Durbanville and Saronsberg from Tulbag who will all be exhibiting their premium wines and sparkling wines. Think Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Shiraz, Merlot.. all multi-starred Platter rated and all of them winners of prestigious awards such as the Winemaker’s Choice Diamond Award, Michael Angelo Awards, VERITAS Awards, Top 100 Award and SA Wine Winners Award. Local juices: The Clarens Primary School will be offering local sparkling apple and cherry juice, lemonade and ginger beer. Other fizzy drinks will also be available SAB Hydration station: SAB is sponsoring the popular hydration station where the visitors can obtain and refill bottles of cool, fresh water This update brought to you by Natalie Meyer from the Brewery Join the event on Facebook by clicking here To read more about Beer and the festival please click here for the full program of events and beers and bands and breweries who will be participating.
Live Music and Specials
Clarens Interiors is celebrating their 7th birthday this weekend, so go and see Anel to get special prices and discounts this weekend
Things to do
Twitch if you can see him On your return trip from Clarens to Durban or Johannesburg (via Harrismith) you should consider turning off on the R722 and driving 45k to Verkykerskop. This quaint little “boere” town is full of surprises, and the Sunday lunch buffet at Smiley’s is a must. As you enter, via the store, you are transported back to the “good old days.” The general store at the entrance is full of antiques and artefacts – you’ll just have to buy something (even if it’s only a bag of sugar and some tea.) While you’re waiting for lunch you can enjoy drinks on the stoep. This is the place to meet the locals. (It seems that everyone in Verkykerskop and the surrounding area converges here.) The buffet comprises a huge spread, and the food is so tasty you’ll find yourself lining up (tin plate in hand) for a second (and even a third) helping. No matter if you’re a vegetarian or a meat eater – there is a very wide selection to choose from – all for only R110 per person. (Such good value that I can see this becoming a regular outing for Clarens residents.) If you have a chance, chat to your hosts Matt and Beth. They are a mine of information on Verkykerskop and can tell you all about the area and future plans for its development. Booking is essential: Phone (058) 625 0071 or 079 8730470
Scooter Addicts are 4 guys on scooters, visiting 14 Children’ hospitals, over 8 months, covering 35000km’s from Cape Town to Dublin – all in aid of raising funds for the Children’s Red Cross Hospital. www.scooteraddicts.co.za – read more about them. “We are sponsoring Dinner,bed and Breakfast at Witsieshoek on Monday 11th February and would like to offer a special for anyone to join them at R400 per person sharing. This includes dinner, bed and breakfast and we will donate R50 of this to the Childrens Red Cross Hospital. Please, we would like you to be our guest and bring as many as you can!. They have put so much effort and planning into this trip and are fantastic company, it would be great if we have some interested supporters.” To find out more about Witsieshoek (top of the Drakensberg and a stunningly beautiful place), clickHERE 9 March 2013 – The SPF Macnollie fund raising challenge. Are you a hunting, shooting fishing kind of person? Compete to raise funds for the Sector Police Forum and keep Clarens safe. ClickHERE for more details The Sandstone Gorge in Ficksburg has their Steam Heritage Festival which runs from the 4th to the 12th of May this year, and promises historic trains, a Sherman Tank, vintage tractors and dozers, as well as a Model T Ford grain truck, all of which are in operation and function in conjunction with the agricultural nature of the area it inhabits. Well, maybe not the Sherman tank (I hope), but all the rest. In the meantime, to read their latest Newsletter click HERE
|2013/05/04||MTN National Marathon #4 Clarens||Clarens||Freestate|
|2013/05/05||Nissan National Half Marathon #4 Clarens||Clarens||Freestate|
219 shopping days to Christmas and counting. Not even an unexpected win by the national football team has countered the pervading gloom of a village bereft of its post-Christmas tourist flocks, so drinking continues unabated in the local hostelries as anticipation of the February Craft Beer Festival mounts. Talking of local hostelries, there has been a welcome flood of postings on the ‘Creature Wall’ in the Clarens Brewery, confirming widespread sightings of our own missing link… (to read the rest of last week’s Twitcher please click HERE)
1 February 2013
Well, only 226 shopping days to Christmas and the ankle-biters are all off to school again to rack up another year of educational achievement. Thank goodness Clarens is not in Limpopo or we wouldn’t even be able to say that. On a domestic note, several readers have called to claim sighting of the creature reported in last week’s Clarens News but as yet no-one has come up with a decent picture of this elusive visitor. The ‘Creature Wall’ in the Clarens Brewery is yet to have any postings, so please come forward if you have anything to report. Your faithful scribe has meanwhile done further research and can confirm that in the USA, where rates of obesity would make any Bigfoot hard to spot in a crowded mall, sightings of this creature seem quite common. In that confused continent, Bigfoot is commonly described as a large, hairy ape-like creature, in a range of 2–3metres tall, weighing in excess of 230kgs, making our little chap/chapess seem quite delicate, or perhaps simply a petite female of the species. Theirs is also known as “Sasquatch” and is covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair, has large eyes, a low-set forehead with a pronounced ridge, and is commonly reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell. On hearing this description, a farmer’s wife from Fouriesburg nodded knowingly and suggested her own dear husband as a candidate for any identity parade, should one be held. In the USA, the enormous footprints for which it is named are up to 60cm long and 20cm wide. While it appears to have five toes — like all known apes — some tracks have only two to six toes, putting our own little cuddly bunny right in the zone. Only problem is that America’s Bigfoot is usually described as a bipedal humanoid, and as we have not found any bicycle tracks, they may be unrelated. The most recent reported sighting in our fair village was at the corner table in Mosaic last Friday night, although the lack of any clothing and widespread pizza smearing could mean that this was simply a well-proportioned visitor from Friends. Please keep your eyes peeled but any further correspondence on the subject of Steel Wings members going walk-about will not be encouraged. On a positive note, the Clarens Conservancy has suggested s/he be encouraged to eat the goats and cattle currently devastating the reserve, and will put up some signs to guide the dismemberment of these invaders. Finally, since our newest citizen may be around for a while to come, the Twitcher would welcome ideas on an appropriate name for our shy and odiferous friend in the veld. “Kaalvoet” has been suggested by a committee in Ficksburg, while a feminist group in the Golden Gate has proposed “Koeksister”, in the conviction that she is a sweet (if hairy) girl and entitled to extensive Constitutional rights. But I feel sure we can do better than that, and look forward to readers’ suggestions, which will be displayed on the Brewery’s “Creature Wall” in due course. The Twitcher